Can India keep Apple's secrets?

"Apple has also been concerned about Indian customs officials, who typically open up packages."

From Sankalp Phartiyal and Saritha Rai's "Apple’s New iPhone 14 to Show India Closing Tech Gap With China" posted Monday on Bloomberg News:

Apple Inc. plans to begin manufacturing the iPhone 14 in India about two months after the product’s initial release out of China, narrowing the gap between the two countries but not closing it completely as some had anticipated...

Matching China’s pace of iPhone production would have marked a major milestone for India, which has been touting its attractiveness as an alternative at a time when rolling Covid lockdowns and US sanctions jeopardize China’s position as factory to the world. Assembling iPhones often entails coordination between hundreds of suppliers and meeting Apple’s infamously tight deadlines and quality controls.

One challenge in narrowing the cap of India production is secrecy. Apple goes to extreme lengths to keep new product details confidential, and imposing the same rigorous controls in a second country would prove difficult.

Local executives in India examined entirely cornering off a section of one of Foxconn’s multiple assembly lines, sequestering workers and scrutinizing all possible ways in which the security around the device could be compromised, according to two of the people. Thus far, the drastic security controls and stringent seclusion of its China facilities would be challenging to replicate, one of the people said.

Apple has also been concerned about Indian customs officials, who typically open up packages to check whether imported materials match their declarations, another potential vulnerability for product secrecy.

My take: Don't Chinese customs officers open up Apple's shipments?


  1. Bart Yee said:
    In time, India will fulfill its ambitions as becoming a major iphone manufacturing center. But Apple, Foxconn, and Wistron are right to take this in progressive steps, planning, testing, prototyping, and small to larger runs to be sure it works, and most importantly, satisfies Apple requirements. In every system, there is potential for IP and product leaks so Apple must maintain an iron or titanium grip on every step. If India and its smart people work together with Apple, positives will happen for both and all. Hopefully, it becomes a roadmap for future Apple expansion and other companies wanting to tap the Indian market and beyond.

    August 23, 2022
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    While secrecy is never a guarantee in these work arrangements, I easily would place my bet on an authoritarian regime to exercise restraint and control than on the world’s largest democracy where curbing or even exercising discipline is tantamount to herding cats.

    August 23, 2022
  3. David Emery said:
    “My take: Don’t Chinese customs officers open up Apple’s shipments?”

    Could be that Chinese customs agents who leak secrets are sent for “re-education”.

    August 23, 2022

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